Fueling Tip Friday

I recently read a fueling tip for the upcoming New York City marathon that said endurance athletes should consume 50 to 65% of their calories as complex carbohydrates. What a big percentage range! And how do I know if I should be on the low or the high end of that range? And in order to calculate percentages, I would have to count calories first and then figure out what percentage of the calories are coming from carbohydrate as opposed to fat and protein. Uhhh... and how do I know those numbers will tell me I’m fueled properly for my upcoming NYC marathon?

Have you guessed I am not a fan of this type of general advice? Too many numbers and insufficient information. Granted, this was just a quick blurb on a website, but it can give endurance athletes the idea that the old school way of “numbers-driven” nutrition is the be all and end all to determining fueling needs. Be careful when reading statements like this. You can easily get lost in numbers and lose sight of more important matters such as the quality of your food and how it serves your training and racing goals.

Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD